2017 is such a weird year so far but I’m hopeful!
-Early in the month, we went on a road trip to Georgia. We stayed at Stone Mountain for a couple days, and they brought in acres of snow, so we were all able to throw snowballs, go snow tubing, and build snowmen...but it was in 60 degree weather! So awesome. We also hiked up the mountain…with our kids ages 4, 3, and 1! It was a great lesson in perseverance for all of us, and I had fun making up legends and stories to try to pass the time. Then we visited my family up in North Georgia and my cousin treated us to fresh deer heart! (Yep, I can’t eat salad without gagging, but I ate deer heart.) Being outside a lot is so good for the soul.
-As stated previously, I’ve purged a lot of stuff from our home recently. I also hid a lot of things and I’m trying to figure out if we will miss them. Right now we are trying to take a break from toys and it’s been awesome. So much more dancing, playing outside, baking together, reading…so much more art! As the kids are getting older I think we’re getting more freed up to serve others, so I’m trying to navigate what that should look like. But till then, it’s still important to enrich them and teach them obedience so we can more effectively bless the world.
-Piper’s been saying cute things like “I didn’t notice” or “unfortunately” and her favorite book of the Bible is “Genemias.” She is still as adorably pessimistic as ever. Stephen uses quaniftifying phrases such as “a decent amount” and is continuing to wow us with his kindness, and Evey gives us her monosyllabic versions of whetever we tell her to say. Which leads us to what I learned…
What I Learned:
-There is a lot of talking going on in our house these days. I’m getting a tad weary of “Hey Mommy?” a hundred times a day, especially when it’s followed by “Can you wipe me?” But when I stop and think about how selfish I’m being in that moment, and when I remember these kid s aren’t just pets or trophies but people whose hearts need great care, it doesn’t feel like a burden anymore. My situation is not a hindrance to my happiness. And motherhood is quite a blessed situation.
-The kids and I had to be out of the house for a couple little chunks of the month because Peter was replacing the floors, and we all felt so displaced and grumpy living out of a suitcase and traveling between my parents and grandparents’ homes. (My mom and Mammaw were amazing hostesses, by the way.) I felt so self-pitying about not having a home for a week. But right now there are millions of refugees all around the world who did not leave their homes to get cool new floors, but who were forced out of their homes due to violence/terrorism/horrible tragedies. I can’t believe how selfish I can get. Things that feel so big to me are in reality, and especially in light of eternity, so terribly small.
-I’ve also been working out more, eating healthier, and I started getting counseling from one of the pastors at our church who has been helping me with some of my emotional issues. Those three factors have helped me greatly. One night I remember journaling something like “Wow, God, I trust You! I actually trust You! You are my hope!” For a fleeting moment I was really okay with whatever happened to me because I belong to the Lord. (The next day, of course, I was back to my self-pitying and despairing little old self.) So I really hope He continues to give me faith, and I’m really grateful for all the ways He pours grace into my life. I love my church more than ever.
I’m in Luke right now, and I’ve really been enjoying the gospels. Jesus is so upside-down and never gives the answers people were expecting. A prevailing theme in not only the Gospels but the entire Bible, Old Testament included, is how much God values humility. In Mark 9:35 Christ said “If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all”; how many Christian celebrities—who are supposed to be exemplary in their faith—are seeking to be “last of all and servant of all”? In Luke 1 I was so inspired by Mary’s response to her calling as the mother of Jesus. She referred to herself as God’s servant and sang a beautiful song mentioning humility over and over, praising God for His mercy. Nobody wants to consider themselves in need of mercy.
-This month we’ve been listening almost exclusively to Slugs and Bugs Sing the Bible Vol. 1 and 2. I love the scriptures that were chosen and I’m amazed that they could even make some of these songs silly without being irreverent. (Check out the songs “Alien”, “Raisins”, the very-imaginative “Whoever Sows.”) Whether we’re singing “therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ” or “strengthen me with raisins”, it’s all from scripture and it’s all so good.
-We also listened to the Moana soundtrack quite a bit, but once I started examining the lyrics a little more I realized that they contain some pretty strong messages of subjective truth, self-focus, rejection of authority and community, and moral relativism. I haven’t seen the movie, but from the music I hear a lot about “listening to your heart”, which historically has been a bad idea that neither my children nor myself need to hear. But the music is absolutely beautiful and incredibly well-made and I can imagine the movie is the same. So we continue to enjoy it, just with some discussion about the content. :)
-I really appreciated the article "Friends Your Age Are Not Enough" by Jacquelle Crow on Desiring God. It's been so healthy for me to be constantly immersed in multi-generational relationships in my church.
-I love the Bedtime Stories video on Joshua Harris's YouTube channel. "Bedtime stories are not just for putting rambunctious children to bed. Stories of the truest kind tell us who we really are. Bedtime stories matter because the stories we tell ourselves shape our destiny." Excellent and well-illustrated comparison of perspectives; my kids love it ad it profoundly strikes me as well.
Stuff I Wrote:
Yearly Ponderment: 2016
Beef and Praise for Minimalism, Part One
How I Scored Free Chick-fil-A for A Year (Three Times!)
I was also featured on David Murray's blog HeadHeartHand as a Digital Detox Testimony and on his daily roundup of articles to Check Out. I've been reading his blog for several years and I'm really enjoying his series on how to navigate technology. I definitely recommend adding HeadHeartHand to your blog feed!
And now for some pictures!
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My name is Hope.
I'm 25, married to a rad guy, and raising three little people ages 1,3, and 5...and I'm now expecting my fourth. I like chartreuse, calligraphy, Coke Icees, childbirth, crocs, Studio C, and...alliteration.
Quick links to some of my posts:
Articles I've Written on Other Sites:
Youth Ministry's Family Blindspot - Christianity Today